I recently received this question on the Studio Scratches YouTube Channel:
- I was hoping I could ask you how well you transitioned from your old mixer to the ttm57?
- I am thinking about purchasing but I need to validate a $1500 investment.
- Did you think the TTM 57sl helped your skills and versatility?
- I’d like your honest opinion.
- Do you use it with Serato?
Thanks for the question which I will breakdown and answer below.
The Rane TTM 57sl
The mixer in question that I am currently using:
Mixer overview from the Rane website:
“The TTM 57SL Performance Mixer combines the best technologies that Rane and Serato have to offer in a single high-performance mixer. The TTM 57SL fully integrates Rane’s proven hardware and Serato Scratch Live, creating a whole new range of possibilities for your performance. The TTM 57SL was specifically designed to work with Scratch Live and the available features are best served when used with Scratch Live. The TTM 57SL is also a very competent standalone performance mixer.”
Transistioning from my old mixer
Straight out the box I loved it. I took a little while (under a week) for me to get used to the new crossfader, because it has a much smoother / looser feel, and a sharper / quicker cut in point for the sound. An adjustment period is only natural and to be expected. I now only had to move the fader a small amount before the sound cut in which does make things like the crab scratch easier / less effort. It was so much better than the fader I was using previously. When you want to perform fast scratches, having to move the crossfader less distance really does make a big difference. So the number one difference for me was how great the fader is.
After a while, I no longer noticed the fader differences, it simply allowed me to focus on creative scratching, as it should be. Just like when you are driving a car and it becomes automatic after a while and you don’t notice how the steering wheel feels, so it was with this fader.
The whole mixer feels so solid, sturdy and professional.
The biggest thing I had to get used to and learn how to use was all the extra hardware and software features such as effects like delay. Effects are purely optional of course, you don’t have to use effects if you don’t want to.
To be honest I still only use a small percentage of these features and effects as I tend to focus on pure scratching, but I do love the flexibility.
Do I think the TTM 57sl helped my skills and versatility?
Yes to a certain extent.
The TTM 57sl helped my skills in that it has a really great crossfader which makes performing both the simple and complex scratches that I could already perform slightly easier, as there is less resistance on the fader and the sound cuts in very quickly.
If you could not do a crab scratch before buying this mixer for example, it won’t magically all of a sudden allow you perform the crab scratch after.
What this mixer can do is make the learning process easier. Think of it like drawing with a blunt pencil. Drawing with a blunt pencil is hard. If you sharpen the pencil you now have a tool that makes it possible to draw a decent line. But drawing a picture that looks beautiful is nothing to do with the pencil itself, it comes from the skill of the artist that is holding the pencil. You need drawing skills which take time and patience to develop. Or think about chopping logs with a blunt axe. You need a sharp axe, but you also need good axe swinging skills! (My log chopping skills suck and no sharp axe will change that.) You get my point.
So skills are not generally improved by equipment alone, but your existing skills can be enhanced and new opportunities and creative possibilities open up by using the Serato functions and effects which I talk about below.
Do I use it with Serato?
Yes, I most certainly do!
A USB cable connects directly from the mixer into my laptop which is very convenient and means no plugging in an extra Serato box with extra wires and cables that tend to make everything look untidy. I don’t know about you but I really love a clean minimal setup which allows me to really focus and get the most creative.
I use Serato to load up digital scratch records that I use to cut with.
I loop up instrumental beats to practice over.
Loops are easy to set up and can be triggered with the buttons on the mixer. You can have multiple cue points and all sorts too!
I like to use the delay effect which is super fun and adds an extra dimension to my cuts.
I generally only have one deck set up these days, purely for scratching, but when I mix at gigs etc I use Serato for everything. No more carrying vinyl around. I love vinyl by the way but flying with it really is not fun!
Other Notes on the TTM 57sl / Things I appreciate
Travelling to gigs is super easy, I have a Pelican case it just sits in and is pretty much indestructible. I generally get the venue to provide a set of technics then its just this mixer, needles and laptop that I take. Simple!
The other thing that this mixer allows me to do is to listen to my scratching / master output via headphones. This is perfect as I don’t always have speakers set up and sometimes not everyone in my house wants to listen to me scratching late at night. Before I would have to plug the mixer and my headphones into an amp or soundcard which is yet another piece of kit. I prefer a minimal setup.
I really appreciate owning and using the Rane TTM 57sl. It has been a great investment. However, you absolutely do not have to spend this much on a mixer.
The main thing is the crossfader.
If you have a mixer like my old Vestax 06 you can put a really great fader in it like the innofader and instantly have a much better scratch experience.
Scratching in its essence with a mixer is essentially all about the crossfader:
- on and off / open and close.
You really need the fader to be super slidey, loose and frictionless with a sharp cut in point. That’s all!
Everything else is secondary.
It is nothing more complicated than that. I like to call this The Simple Art of Scratching.
If you took away my Rane TTM 57sl today, I could resurrect my 13 year old vestax 06 pro (if I hadn’t sold it) and I would put an innofader in it. Whilst the Pro X Fade is ok, I much preferred the innofader. Please note I am not affiliated with innofader in anyway, this is purely based on my experience of using both and is my personal preference.
Another option is the DJ Tech DIF 1S with a mini innofader inside which is retailing at a reasonable price point.
Upgrading our equipment can help us improve our scratching to an extent, we do need the right tools for the job, but in the end it comes down to you ‘doing the work’ of learning and practicing to develop your skills.
For more on equipment please check out my DJ Toolbox page.
I hope this article helped.
What You Should Do Now
Please leave a comment below. Share your thoughts or ask any questions you have.
As always, I’ll do my best to help.
Happy Scratching! 😀